Web Browser Wednesday
Everyone knows the people that refuse to use or even try Firefox because they are already used to Internet Explorer. You know, the kind of people that don’t like change? You tell them “it is easy to learn how to use it” but they just tell you “Internet Explorer does everything that I need it to”. You want them to use Firefox because of the additional security features and the extensibility but they could care less. What if you could switch them over to Firefox without them even knowing?
A great piece of software called eFox (also known as FirefoxIE) will help you switch those people over from Internet Explorer. eFox models itself after Internet Explorer 7 but has all of the stability of Firefox 22.214.171.124!
You have a few options to get eFox (I recommend the second option, at least to test it and make sure you like it). First, you can download it from their site and install it. This is a good solution if you know that you will like it because this will overwrite your existing Firefox profile and your Firefox installation (If you have a version of Firefox installed, let’s say 126.96.36.199, and you installed eFox it will change your installation to version 188.8.131.52).
I downloaded the executable file and while that was downloading, I backed up my profile folder and my Firefox installation folder. After it finished downloading I went ahead and ran the EXE file. I waited about 15 seconds and nothing happened, so I double-clicked on it again. Still nothing, so I opened up Firefox and wham!!, eFox was running. The installation process doesn’t prompt you for any information or directories. It would have been nice to get a confirmation box that said “Make sure you back everything up and press OK to continue” but there was nothing like that.
It was up and running, and I have to say it was pretty slick! Everything was setup as best as it could be to make Firefox appear to be Internet Explorer 7. This isn’t just a theme like some are probably thinking– but I will get into some of the features after I discuss my “easier” method of trying eFox.
Like most people, you will probably want to try this out before you commit yourself to a newly styled browser. That is how I was but there was no hope of it being that simple for me. To make my second method of getting eFox simple for you,download this Portable eFox that I put together. Simply run the IEXPLORE.EXE file (as pictured to the right) and it will be up and running. This also makes it easy to trick someone that this is Internet Explorer because all you have to do is replace these files with the ones in the “Program Files/Internet Explorer” folder. This way, anytime that they execute an Internet Explorer shortcut it will run eFox. Clever huh?
There are a lot of things that eFox does to make it resemble Internet Explorer. Besides for the obvious theme, it also replaces the Firefox logos with IE7 logos. It comes with a small list of extensions already installed: UI Tweaker, Google Toolbar, Bookmarks Menu Button, IE Tab, ChromEdit, Compact Menu, Launchy, FirefoxIE SMS Messenger, and Firesomething. Some of these extensions are to make the theme more like Internet Explorer– however, some of them are also used to make your browsing experience better.
One thing that I didn’t like was that the Menu bar was removed and there was no way to get to some of the menus I use– like Tools. In the portable version I was able to put the Menu back in next to the Bookmarks. This Menu will provide every option normally found in the complete Menu bar, except this is more condensed. You can do this in the installation version by simply right-clicking on a toolbar and select “Classic Menu”. Right-click on a toolbar again and select “Customize”. Drag the Menu button down next to the Bookmarks. Now you can remove the Classic Menu bar because there is nothing else you will need on it.
Overall there has been a lot of great work put into eFox. I am impressed with how it handles, but then again I love Firefox. Even though I won’t be using this browser on a daily basis, (I actually like the default Firefox theme) I will always keep it in the back of my head for the next time that I meet the person that doesn’t want to try anything other than Internet Explorer.